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February 08, 2008

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GreyFlcn

The poor nuclear industry.

Nuclear gets more R&D dollars than the rest of the electricity industry combined (and multiplied)

And a gigantic federal loan guaruntee program which is many times larger than the rest of the entire electricity sector.
(For some reason it can't get a dime from Wall Street investments... )
gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/2/4/121316/2398#comment2

Ontop of a big hike proposed for 2009.
greyfalcon.net/2009budget.png

But thats "clearly" not enough?
Perhaps that because Nuclear clearly isn't economical.
greyfalcon.net/costlynuclear

_

Meanwhile, Renewables and Efficieny programs get huge budget cuts.

* Including the Production Tax Credit being cut to $0
* The Building Weatherization Program cut to $0
* And Hydropower cut %70

Kit P

This sounds reasonable from page 7:

“This gives rise to two goals for existing LWRs: (1) successfully achieve planned life extensions to 60 years and further extend the NRC licenses of existing LWRs to 80 years, and (2) maintain plant performance to
ensure the high capacity factor and superior safety and economic performance of LWRs
throughout their 80-year lifetime.”

I do like GreyFlcn circular logic. He makes outlandish statements and then links some blog where he makes the statements.

So let me ask all of you how we should cut DOE budget that GreyFlcn thinks is R$D for commercial nukes:

Should we stop cleaning up nuclear weapon sites like Hanford? Well I do not live near them.

Should we stop guarding weapons grade nuclear material? Hey what is the problem, maybe we could turn it into a profit center by selling it to Iran.

Should we stop converting weapons grade nuclear material to nuclear fuel and violate our treaty with Russia? Wait 10% of US electricity is generated from what used to be USSR nuclear weapons and three (soon to be 6) US reactors are burning what used to be US weapons.

It is a funny thing about looking at each line item in the DOE budget, greens are demanding more for nuclear cleanup. The 80% federal loan guarantee program is not just for nuclear, it is for all low carbon sources.

The PTC has nothing to do with the DOE budget. Those who want windmills built in their state but can not get your state legislature to pass a RPS, write congress and tell them to do their jobs.

Any outlandish statement made GreyFlcn not in this rebuttal should not be considered an endorsement but just an acknowledgment that it takes too long to rebut all the such a long list.

Cyril R.

So are we switching to a sandbox mode economy now? Naive and futile protectionism. Our current administration thinks it is good policy to subsidize almost fully the revitalization of the nuclear construction sector, thereby taking the risk of creating an uncompetitive industry. An unnecessary risk as our friendly neighbours have a well developed nuclear industry with a superiour design that is highly synergetic with our LWR based industry. And they're exporting.

This policy cannot be justified by anyone with a rational mindset. Which is probably why it will go through.

If the US nuclear construction sector can't even potty-train itself, how can we assume that it will solve some of our energy problems after that?

Mike Keller

Light water reactors are very expensive (as in 4 or 5 billion dollars per plant, maybe more) and are a very mature commercial technology. Opportunities to reduce that cost are likely somewhat limited although competition among the manufacturers/builders should be able to reduce costs somewhat.

I am, however, baffled as to why the US taxpayer should be involved with improving LWR’s. That should be entirely within the sphere of those who sell the product. If the technology is competitive within the marketplace, then it will prosper. If not, it will be overtaken by something better. This almost sounds like some kind of “Idaho relief act”.

GreyFlcn

He makes outlandish statements and then links some blog where he makes the statements.

Thats merely because the spam filter on this blog is a pain in the ass when it comes to putting in website links.

So I figured I'd link to somewhere else where I already had the extra links posted.

GreyFlcn

I am curious though what you find "outlandish", about my statement.

Perhaps thats because I neglected to reference this link:
greyfalcon.net/h2nuke

___________

I will admit though, the (and multiplied) part above is incorrect.

The subsidies are merely "More than the entire rest of the electricity industry combined".

The federal loan guaruntees requested though were 7x larger than the rest of the entire electric industry though.

Charles Barton

Light water reactors are very expensive (as in 4 or 5 billion dollars per plant, maybe more) and are a very mature commercial technology. Opportunities to reduce that cost are likely somewhat limited although competition among the manufacturers/builders should be able to reduce costs somewhat. - Mike Keller

On the contrary Mike, LWRs continue to rapidly evolve. Reactor owners are uprating reactor power by as much as 20%, and 50% power uprates may be in the offing. http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2007/jan/tech/kb_nuclear.html
http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/01/reviewing-specifics-of-mit-50-power.html

New fuel technologies may enable reactor manufacturers to bring the cost of new reactors down by much as one third per GW generated. In addition new reactor designs by Westinghouse and GE have significantly lowered material inputs and other construction costs, while at the same time speeding up the manufacturing process. At the same time, these reactors are safer than earlier generations of LWRs.
http://nuclearinfo.net/twiki/pub/Nuclearpower/WebHomeCostOfNuclearPower/AP1000Reactor.pdf

Thus statements about the maturity and cost of rapidly evolving light water reactor technology are highly premature.

Mike Keller

The manufacturer's, builders and operator's are reducing costs -- perfect, competition and the market place in action!

However, why should the US taxpayer foot the bill?

Charles Barton

"why should the US taxpayer foot the bill?" - Mike Keller

Good question Mike. The answer is that Public investments are justified when the public receives large benefits form the investments, and where private investors may lack the resources to finance the investments on their own,

In the case of nuclear power, there is a very powerful case for public investments. The case includes the following:
1. Upwards of 20,000 Americans die every year from causes related to the use of coal to generate electricity. Replacing coal fired plants with non-carbon power sources will prolong the lives of those people.

2. Hundreds of thousands of Americas have health related problems that are adversely impacted by coal fly ash and other combustion products. Pollutants from coal fired power plants are responsible for many thousands of hospital and Emergency Room admissions every year. Insurance costs related to coal combustion caused illness runs into the 10's of billions of dollars. Part of the costs for these health problems fall on the federal government in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and other federally financed healthcare programs.

3. Further financial obligations for coal combustion related health care problems fall on state and local governments.

4. The Federal government has received far greater return on past investments in nuclear power, than it has received on investments in renewables research. Returns to the government include taxes paid on the income of nuclear power plants, and taxes paid on added economic activity attributable to the presence of low cost nucleargenerated electricity.

5. The adverse economic impact of CO2 emissions/global warming will have a negative impact on both the income and the expenses of the federal government. Partially financing the substitution of carbon free technology, for fossil fuel technologies will in the long run prevent declines in government revenues while lowering potential government mitigation expenses.

6. Of post-carbon technologies, nuclear power is by far the most reliable. Solar and wind generating facilities operated at an average capacity factor of 20%. Nuclear power plants operate year in and year out at a capacity factor of over 90%.

Mike Keller

I happen to agree that nuclear is the way to go. If conventional nuclear was a developing new technology, it might need some start-up help. But it is not.

This mature (+50 years old) technology needs to stand on its own two feet. Please note, I don't blame the industry for trying to get someone else (like US taxpayer) to subsidize their costs -- the Farmers get something like $100 billion a year. I just do not believe it's justified; the Federal budget is not an endless cornucopia.

Charles Barton

Mike Keller, I would agree with you that in the best of all possible worlds the government should not be subsidizing research that benefits private businesses. This is not the best of all possible worlds. At present private businesses are delivering power to our society in a way that kills substantial numbers of people every year.

At present the private businesses are delivering electricity in a way that makes hundreds of thousands of people sick, and generates tens of billions of dollars in health care expenses. The government has an obligation to the people of this country to protect the health of its people. Paying for nuclear power research is a legitimate way for the government to fulfill its obligation to protect the health of its citizens.

At present businesses deliver electrical power in ways that will in the long term create enormous liabilities for our society individually and collectively. It is a legitimate function of government to protect its citizens from predictable environmental harm, just as it is the legitimate function of government to protect its citizens from criminals and foreign invaders. Government investment in nuclear research is part of a governmental attempt to protect American citizens from environmental harm cased by greenhouse gas emissions. I might add that so far private business has not demonstrated a willingness to face the situation. Thus it is the responsibility of government to face what private business can't or won't.

GreyFlcn

Ah, while we're talking about externalities.

_

How many wars, or near wars have been caused by Renewables?

ANd how many wars, or near wars have been caused by Nuclear?
* Iran
* North Korea
* Iraq
* India-Pakistan
* Cuban Missile Crisis
* Cold War
To name a few

Then lets toss in the overhead cost of non-proliferation efforts (Which extends to virtually forever)

And the ongoing cost of future geopolitical interventions.

Can you honestly say that there is no cost associated with that?

Or that that won't be a significant, and potentially crippling barrier to large scale implementation of nuclear.
(Which is required if it were to deal with a global issue, such as global warming)

Nucbuddy

GreyFlcn,

All of those wars were fought over Toshiba's cartidge reactors?

What was all of this talk about a nuclear fig leaf?

Charles Barton

How many wars, or near wars have been caused by Renewables?
ANd how many wars, or near wars have been caused by Nuclear? - GreyFlcn

In answer to your wacky, insane question, GreyFlcn, None in either case. Zero, nada.

No wars were started by civilian nuclear power plants, ever. Iran, North Korea, Iraq, and India-Pakistan, have never been involved in a nuclear war. The cold war was not a shooting war, it is the name of a political - economic conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was an episode that ended peacefully. At any rate the United States and the Soviet Union threatened to drop nuclear bombs, not reactors on each other. There is a difference you know.

Light Water Reactors are very bad proliferation tools. The North Koreans built a graphite reactor, while the Pakistanis built centrifuge. No one but a Green could be so ignorant as to think that reactor grade plutonium makes good material building nuclear bombs. At any rate how is building reactors in the United States going to cause other countries to get nuclear weapons.

bigTom

Charles,
I'd like to know if my research dollars are being well spent. I am a supporter of Nuclear, and of publicly funded research on advanced reactor concepts. I am most interested in improved fuel cycles, less waste (which is 90% a political issue) per unit of output would be an important public good worth spending research dollars on. Do these LWRs advance us significantly in that direction? Is this a case of not invented here -i.e. is it significantly better than Canadian, or French designs? Could we partner with these countries for more efficient usage of our research dollars?

Charles Barton

The LWR was developed originally as a naval reactor. It was adapted to civilian power use because, but it is far from the best reactor technology for power production. My father participated in the development of both the LWR and liquid core reactors. He believed on the basis of this research in reactors and nuclear safety (I discuss his research career on my blog, Nuclear Green.), that the Molten salt reactor was potentially the best reactor design. The molten salt reactor was very safe, burned 100% of its potential nuclear fuel. What was left is not waste, but highly valuable and often rare metals and minerals, that have many uses in industry. Development of the Molten Salt Reactor was blocked by by the federal government in the late 1960's but many nuclear experts believe that it is worthwhile starting again.

Right now we have too few research dollars on the table for nuclear research, and for other important energy related technologies. We need to put a lot bigger investment into the development of battery and ultra-capacitor technology for example.

Kit P

Charles Barton, with all due respect, the electricity generating industry is very safe and is required by regulation to ensure the people the electricity is produced for are not exposed to any significant increase in risk. If you happen to have some personal knowledge about please share but spare us the Greenpeace diatribes used by inept local politicians who blame air pollution on a power plant two hundred miles away while ignoring all the clean air in between.

GreenPlease

Anyone here read the book Insurmountable Risks? The sucker is like 900 pages long and well documented, but all you really have to read is the title.

Has anyone here considered the logistics of transporting nuclear waste to a permanent site? Not to be a NIMBY, but do you really want a semi full of spent uranium rolling down the highway a mile from your house?

About molten salt reactors: ever consider that maybe the government doesn't want to burn all of that nuclear fuel? Why else would you block such a design?

Charles Barton

"the electricity generating industry is very safe and is required by regulation to ensure the people the electricity is produced for are not exposed to any significant increase in risk. If you happen to have some personal knowledge about please share but spare us the Greenpeace diatribes used by inept local politicians who blame air pollution on a power plant two hundred miles away while ignoring all the clean air in between." -Kip P.

ORNL researchers, including my father, began researching the health dangers posed by coal and other fossil fuels during the 1970's. Some of my father's conclusions can be found here.
http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-father-appears-to-have-prepared-this.html

ORNL researcher's including some of my father's associates found that not only did coal fly ash contain many toxic materials including mercury, arsenic, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides, but it also contained significant amounts of radioactive materials. In "Radiological Impact of Airborne Effluents of Coal and Nuclear Plants" published in the December 8, 1978, issue of Science magazine, ORNL researchers J. P. McBride, R. E. Moore, J. P. Witherspoon, and R. E. Blanco reported that Americans living near coal-fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near nuclear power plants. They reported that both fissionable and fertile materials can be recovered from coal ash. They noted that products of coal combustion include carcinogenic and mutagenic substances.

Scientific American reported in December that coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste
Predicted Uranium and Thorium releases till 2040 have been proected to be stupendous:
U.S. release (from combustion of 111,716 million tons):
Uranium: 145,230 tons (containing 1031 tons of uranium-235)
Thorium: 357,491 tons

Worldwide release (from combustion of 637,409 million tons):
Uranium: 828,632 tons (containing 5883 tons of uranium-235)
Thorium: 2,039,709 ton

Polluted air from coal fired power plant does not travel? Oh please, what dream world are you in?

This study reports that most of the toxic pollutants found in Louisiana air come from two coal fired power plants.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4200/is_20031222/ai_n10174135
A telling quote:
"Last week, EPA officials announced proposed deadlines on mercury emissions to be rolled back from the controls envisioned by the Clinton administration, allowing power plant owners to delay meeting requirements for up to 15 years."

University of Pennsylvania researchers found that two local coal fired plants: Hatfield's Ferry Power Station in Monongahela Township and Fort Martin Power Station in Maidsville, West Virginia in 2002, released 4,110 pounds of arsenic, 277 pounds of beryllium, 69 million pounds of nitrogen oxides (NOx), and nearly 500 million pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the air. Arsenic and beryllium increase the risk of lung cancer; NOx contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog, which irritates lungs; and SO2 causes lung disease, aggravates asthma, and contributes to heart disease. Both power plants also are major sources of particulate matter, or soot, which is associated with asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death.
http://www.nrdc.org/media/pressreleases/041207.asp

The Environmental Protection Agency designate Greene County, Pennsylvania, an unhealthful area due to high particulate-matter pollution levels - from the two plants.

I detest Greenpeace. They do not care what happens to people as long as the electricity does not come from nuclear power plants.

I could go on, but I think I have made my point.

Charles Barton

About molten salt reactors: ever consider that maybe the government doesn't want to burn all of that nuclear fuel? Why else would you block such a design - GreenPlease

Politics in the late 1960's and early 1970's, the reasons are long forgotten. This decision involved people, not "the government."

bigTom

Charles; Perhaps I'm taking a more long term view. I see liquid metal -or other advanced reacter designs as the real future technology. If LWR are the only short term option, that is fine -we can use existing designs. I'd rather see scarce research funds -and limited nuclear engineering talent put towrads the proper long term solutions. Designing a new Ntech, that promises dramatically lower long term waste would take a lot of wind out of the anti-nuclear oppositions sails. Should not an aggressive push for advanced reactors, along with a short term buildout -including lifetime extensions, and upgrading current plant capacity be a good way to go? Or am I misreading the LWR research goals?

btw: I looked at his blog, I recommend it. He is providing an important service.

Kit P

“I could go on, but I think I have made my point.”

No Charles you have not made your point. You have demonstrated that you do not know what “any significant increase in risk” means. You have demonstrated you do not the difference between a hazard and mitigated risk. You have demonstrated how to use out-of-date references ans cite meaningless statistics. You have demonstrated that you do not have the ability to spot a carefully crafted lie if it suits you position. Please do not cite the NRDC again unless spreading carefully crafted lies is something you would be proud of doing.

All coal plants in the US meet criteria for risk. While 75% of that risk comers from the release of radioactive in coal, that risk is small.

“The Environmental Protection Agency designate Greene County, Pennsylvania, an unhealthful area due to high particulate-matter pollution levels - from the two plants.”

Charles, please provide me more information about these plants. While I do not preclude the possibility of the coal plants being the primary cause of an air quality issue, I do not find you a very credible source. If you live near these plants, I would certainly be interested in your experience.

I do recall a time when it snowed gray and I was very anti-coal. Lots of improvement have been made in the last 50 years.

Charles Barton

Kip, the information I provided you is hardly out of date, the two plants effecting Green County air I referred to, Hatfield's Ferry Power Station, and Fort Martin Power Station were listed in 2007 as among the more polluting in the country.
http://environmentalintegrity.org/pub458.cfm

In 2006 Hatfield's Ferry emitted 135,082 tons of SO2, and 20,055 tons of NO2.

In 2006 Fort Marton Emitted 87,565 tons of SO2.

For the year 2006 American Coal fired power plants emitted 9.4 million tons of SO2, 2.49 Billion tons of CO2, and 3.49 billion tons of NO2.

Neither plant made the Top 50 list of worst polluters.

So you want up to date reports? Here is one.
Court Rules EPA Violated the Law by Evading Required Power Plant Mercury Reductions
http://www.foxbusiness.com/article/court-rules-epa-violated-law-evading-required-power-plant-mercury-reductions_472061_1.html
The EPA has actually been working to subvert national air pollution standards for mercury pollution, and as in the case of many coal fired plant, has allowed pollution to continue by softball rules. Rules are only enforced when law suites are brought against the EPA of polluting plants.

I understand that after they were forced to by a law suite, the owners of the Hatfield's Ferry plant, agreed to stop killing people by installing stack scrubbers. But this does not erase their long history of reckless disregard for human life. Nor does it stop any of the other highly polluting plants from continuing unacceptable levels of pollution.

Power plants continue to emit fine (PM2.5) particulates. Environmental Protection Agency says the fine particles are the most closely associated with serious health effects such as respiratory disease. People who are most vulnerable to fine particulates are children, the elderly and people like me with pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions. There are no emissions limits on PM2.5 Particulates for coal-fired power plant, and the Bush EPA does not require that power plants keep data showing on plant fine particulate emissions.
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080123/NEWS01/801230304/1002

Charles Barton

Kip, a correction. Instead of woo6 emissions including of 3.49 billion tons of NO2, it should read 3.49 million tons of NO2.

George Bruce

I'd rather subsidize research into technology that actually produces huge amounts of clean, safe baseline energy than subsidize research into technology that hasn't done much of anything yet except kill birds.

Mike Keller

Dramatically reduced emissions from coal plants and significantly reduced nuclear waste ... there is a way to do that. Might want to check out EnergyCentral.com, EnergyPulse section

Kit P

It is interesting that Charles has a web site that explains that risk from radiation from commercial nuclear power plants is insignificant but then turns around and buys into junk science related to coal plants.

Charles made this crackpot claim, “Upwards of 20,000 Americans die every year from causes related to the use of coal to generate electricity.”

This is not rue Charles. Repeating it makes you a crackpot. Again no one is dying from emissions from coal power plants in the US. China may be a different story. It is pretty easy to show that someone is killed by something and I think you have an obligation to backup a such serious claim. You are demeaning the character of some very nice folks who work hard to make sure your lights stay on.

When I have lived near coal plant my air quality has been pristine including a very large one in Pennsylvania.

“people like me with pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions.” Oh, please spare me the whining, your father should have taught you better. Now Charles, just how long would you survive without electricity? We are all living longer for a variety of reasons and one of them is reasonably priced electricity.

“The EPA has actually been working to subvert national air pollution standards for mercury pollution...”

Again Charles this is not true. In any case, please find me that one person who has dangerous levels of mercury in their body attributed to mercury from a coal plant. Mercury poisoning is pretty rare in the US these days because we have used to safely handle it and have regulated the major industrial sources.

Like radiation, mercury is ubiquitous in the environment. The CDC monitors many natural and anthropogenic hazards. All those pregnant women and children reported at risk are actually well below the threshold of harm.

Paul F. Dietz

Even if a technology is mature, it can still make sense to publically subsidize research. The reason is that knowledge production inevitably involves a 'free rider' problem, where those that do not pay for the production still benefit from it. In such situations, it is economically efficient for the government to subsidize the research (just as is it economically efficient for government to penalize pollution.) This argument can, of course, also be used to justify subsidies of research into 'renewable' energy sources.

I suspect those objecting to the subsidies are actually objecting to the knowledge being produced.

bigTom

Paul, you always have interesting responses. I happen to think LWR research feels too much like throwing good money after bad, and would prefer we put our efforts into advanced concepts. That doesn't mean that money (including public money) might not be well spent if it extends the lifetime and capability of existing LWRs (and those we may build during the next decade). I just don't think it is the right long term solution.

Charles Barton

Kit P you are acting like a shill for coal companies. I have pointed you to numerous articles, including papers published by Science, and Scientific American, two highly respected journals. Are you claiming that the papers I liked you to are junk science? You have not commented on many of the numerous articles I linked you too. Have you read them all? Or are you just blowing hot air?

djysrv

When you hear hoof beats think horses not zebras. The joint EPRI INL plan is a recognition that radical advancements in nuclear reactor technologies take decades to get adopted if at all and that emphasis on existing and advanced LWR designs is the best way to build nuclear energy plants to address global warming.
http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2008/02/idaho-lab-epri-craft-new-lwr-reactor.html

Kit P

Charles, I am saying you have made a giant leap of logic based on junk science. I am only calling you an idiot. Killing people is a very specific thing and something the electricity generating industry. If you are going to accuse energy professional of a gross disregard for for the people we serve, maybe you have the responsible of being specific.

What you should be looking for to support your argument is a SPR (source, pathway, reseptors) analyses. I will give you an example of a claim of mercury from coal plants was causing many Americans at risk. The Washington State Department of Ecology issues a warning for state water based on a study of mercury in Washington waters. This warning is often cited in the campaign against coal plants.

Considering that Washington State has one coal plant, I thought it was rather odd. Anyway, the study discussed the historical sources of mercury (that was not coal) no longer existed and that levels were trending down.

So Charles, I have read many peer reviews papers on the environmental impact of producing electricity. I have not read them all. No one has but when I am warned that my children's heath is as risk, I certainly read those. So if Charles can provide a specific link to a document that says the electricity generating is killing people, I will look at it and explain it to Charles.

Charles Barton

Kit P, you have not produced a single rational argument supporting your contentions. You have only expressed your unsubstantiated personal views. You have not looked at any of the sources i have pointed too, you simply announce that all is junk science. You do not appear that science is something distinct from your personal views.

DaveMart

To: Charles Barton:
I would be interested in a link to your blog, as many, although not all, of your statements regarding nuclear power and fossil fuel I go along with.

Rather than attempting to argue the same case in an inferior manner I would prefer to link interlocutors to your site, and your arguments.

With Thanks,
DaveMart

Kit P

Davemart, click on Charles Barton name at the end of his post to go to his blog.

DaveMart

Thanks Kit

Brian

Plenty of subsidies for renewables, my article also discusses external costs for the different power sources

All energy gets subsidized for research and for deployment.

Trillions are spent building the energy infrastructure. $8-22 trillion will be spent worldwide over the next 25 years. this is direct spending and does not include a lot of the subsidies or the external costs (like air pollution). The issue is not subsidies but what are the best energy strategies and what is the best portfolio of energy solutions, because different projects and companies for all of the different types of energy will be profitable and will get built.

Those who only want renewables will get disappointed this and every week when another coal plant gets built. This also disappoints me, but I recognize that the soonest this can be stopped is to push every other energy project instead. We need the nuclear industry with its political connections to start turning the tide on coal and accelerating the move from coal. Coal is still 50% of global projects.

Wind and solar do not have the developed supply chain to deliver the new energy build. Adding about 300GW-1TW per year for each of the next 25 years. All of the non-fossil fuel power combined is not at 100% of new power and until it is cannot displace the in place coal.

The cuts to solar and wind subsidies shows that solar and wind lack the juice to buy the politicians to get the right legislation. They can only piggyback on the bigger legislation and hope for scraps from the table.

Kit P

Brian, we should celebrate every time a any new plant of any kind comes on line meeting today's strict regulations. The most polluting and most expensive MW of electricity is the one that is not available.

noah

does anyone know how much carbon is used to acquire reactor grade feedstock? Also, aren't projects like yucca releasing carbon?

I am a solar contractor in California. I am biased towards solar thermal power with and dc transmission infrastructure. Its such a simple technology and installation and maintenance is a bit easier than with nuclear (see San onofre leak)

Space weaponry can penetrate a reactor. Kinda dangerous. Solar thermal isnt really as fun a target

Do you guys think that the fed gov should be subsidizing anything? Maybe tax incentives for carbon neutral endeavors (nuclear need not apply)

Kit P

LCA studies of different energy sources show solar, wind, and nuclear get about the same results for ghg per MWh. Solar is not carbon neutral. But noah you do understand the the difference between a study and reality? This is a rhetorical question noah because anyone who worries about space weapons attacking nuke plants is a loon. In reality, all 104 nuke plants in the US perform much better than they do in the studies. In reality, solar does not work very well and most likely has a carbon foot print bigger than coal. Why does the solar industry expect a 20% capacity factor when the best is 19% and most that are working are less than 5%?

So noah, show me you are not a loon. What is your plan to make solar work? What is your plan to build a “dc transmission infrastructure” to carry power from a state that imports more energy every year?

I do know the root cause of solar not working. When some says they are “I am a solar contractor in California” that means 99% of the time they are con artists and cheats who have no interest in producing electricity just ripping off consumers.

For 30 years, I have been hearing why new power plants are needed in California because solar and conservation can reduce demand. So noah, start getting the job done and stop worry about nuclear power.

noah

Before u take the time to try to debate with a professional, please read up on the differences between solar thermal energy based on the principles of preheating potable water and also for driving heat engines such as sterling cycle.

You refer to capacity factors of PV solar panels. I know you mean efficiency at standard testing conditions. We never use that number in the industry, and more importantly it's a completely different tech.

To respond to how dc transmission could be feasible in the good ol USA, see the EU model which is being implemented now.

As far as space weaponry, see editorial in nytimes on the starfire program.

KITP, I believe the root of PV solar not working has to do with lofty promises by sales people and crooked contractors but also misinformation by politically charged studies who seek to stonewall cleantech.

You never addressed any of my points regarding the carbon requirements of mining, refining, transporting, and storing nuclear feedstocks and waste. You haven't responded to my concerns about the San onofre concrete walls cracking and leaking sludge into a state beach. You haven't convinced me that I am a loon for thinking reactors could be a war target.

Believe what you want about the performance of PV solar and nuclear. But keep in mind I never even brought up the issues of PV or performance in general in the first place. I was advocating solar thermal and of updating our dilapidated transmission infrastructure.

Clee

The discussion made me curious, so I tried looking up some numbers.

This is almost 10 years old, but at that time the life cycle assessment of the CO2 emissions of solar thermal apparently was about 28 to 38 g/kWh.
http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/1990/benign1998.pdf
page 45, table 3.1

Another chart shows it at just 12 g/kWh
http://www.energy.com.pk/POWER%20GENERATION%20BY%20SOLAR%20ENERGY%20.pdf

I couldn't find a study that showed both CSP and nuclear, but for nuclear I found a range of 10 to 26 g/kWh
http://www.uic.com.au/nip57.htm

The CO2 emissions per kWh for nuclear would appear to be nearly identical to that for wind and solar thermal. All of them much less than the 900+ g/kWh for coal and the 400+ g/kWh for natural gas.

Charles Barton

noah, it is hard to get good date on PV and ST prices for large scale installations. The capacity factors weighs performance over time. It is a method of extracting the electricity production of generation facilities. The beauty of the capacity factor is that it lets us compare the relative capitol cost of of electricity from different sources. I can understand why the advocates of solar power don;t want to talk about capacity factors. Compared to nuclear power exposing the capacity facto of PV and ST generating facilities, exposes what a bad investment they are.

Here is an energy input-out put study for nuclear energy:
http://www.uic.com.au/nip57.htm

Here is a study on CO2 output:
http://www.uic.com.au/ComparativeCO2.htm

Here is another:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf100.html

Here is a study from the IAEA"
http://f40.iaea.org/worldatom/Periodicals/Bulletin/Bull392/taylor.html

Nucbuddy

Noah wrote: Space weaponry can penetrate a reactor. Kinda dangerous. [...] As far as space weaponry, see editorial in nytimes on the starfire program.

Starfire is a laser. It is ground-based, but it could potentially be made space-based. The mere fact that Starfire is a laser presents an immediate problem for your assertion that it could threaten a modern nuclear reactor. It is easy to threaten satellites with lasers, because satellites are normally dainty, fragile, lightweight things.

Modern nuclear power-reactors happen to be just the opposite. They are brawny, robust, massive structures -- and they usually feature multiple layers of massive steel and concrete protection. With that in mind, please describe how you have come to believe that any one kind of laser could pose any kind of a threat to any one modern nuclear power-reactor.

By the way, low-earth orbit starts at 60-miles elevation. Your nuclear-reactor-threatening laser would therefore not be right next to its target. It would first have to drill through sixty miles of atmosphere, and would also be subject to beam dispersion.

The lasers proposed directly for space defense would have power outputs on the order of 0.1 GW, and not 1.0 GW. Furthermore, one can hardly conceive of a laser-rocket efficiency much better than 50 percent, and even that would require a 2 GW laser source if all the laser light traversed the atmosphere without scattering or loss. If one assumes a tenfold loss of laser light in traversing the atmosphere and spilling over at the relay mirrors, a laser of 20 GW would be required as a source. In fact, it would be remarkable to obtain a laser efficiency (conversion of electrical power to laser light) of 30 percent, which would require a prime electrical power input of some 70 GW during launch, and hence a laser enormously overpowered even for the space defense role.

Perhaps a petawatt laser could conceivably pose a realistic threat to a modern nuclear power-reactor. However, even if that were so, should it make us feel concerned?

Kit P


“Before u take the time to try to debate with a professional...”

Noah, you are a “solar contractor in California” and I hardly think I need to do any reading more reading on solar thermal and LCA to have to worry about you impressing me with your knowledge on this topic. What is really clear is you are not an expert on nuclear maintenance or security.

Noah wrote,

“You refer to capacity factors of PV solar panels. I know you mean efficiency at standard testing conditions.”

No stupid, capacity factor (CF) is the correct term. Noah what do you call a solar system with a zero SF? Scape. Only crooked contractors would call it 'cleantech'. If the shoe fits.

EPRI and INL are going to study making US nuke plants last 80 years instead of 40 years assumed in many LCA. One of the obvious benefits is that the environmental impact of all that reinforced concrete and steel used to build the containment building will be cut in half.

Rather than talk about how improve performance of solar loons ask,

“You haven't responded to my concerns about the San onofre concrete walls cracking and leaking sludge into a state beach. You haven't convinced me that I am a loon for thinking reactors could be a war target.”

Do you mean sewage sludge? Maybe you should be more specific if you want me to take your concerns seriously. If you have concerns about a nuke plant you should contact the NRC or the operators of the plant.

There are about 300,000,000 million people that I am more concerned about being a a war target. All power plants are targets because electricity is important to society. But just a clue for loons, targets next to marine any navy bases may get the wrong well armed people angry. Targeting UC Berkley not so much.

Nucbuddy

Noah wrote: You haven't responded to my concerns about the San onofre concrete walls cracking and leaking sludge into a state beach.

Tritiated water is not necessarily sludge.

A person could drink 130 gallons of the most radioactive water found under the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station last week and still have no cause for health concern

Tritium is a type of hydrogen. Tritiated water is therefore water that contains hydrogen. How could tritium turn water into sludge?

This is what the leaked-water looks like. Where did you get the idea it was sludge?

noah

It seems like all of you can warrant a slight risk of catastrophe with energy savings. I would rather pay extra for piece of mind.

Solar thermal uses modular heliostats which are easily serviceable, recyclable and can be installed with basic power tools.

My point about starfire was not an attempt to claim a space laser was going to penetrate a concrete reactor. Sorry for ur calcs. I meant that the gov must think that there is a reason to shoot down invasive orbital objects, or else they wouldn't revive this starwarsesque program. Just saying there's a risk even if slight.

You guys can site studies til blue in the face, but we still haven't established where to put the nuclear waste.

Whether u feel solar in its various iterations was a bad investment in the past, it is gaining feasibilty now. Building new nuclear reactors simply shows no foresight because once the new renewables continue their momentum, there will be no reason to maintain the nuke dinos. See ussr. See bridge maintenance in USA.

Sludge was the wrong word, I'm still worried about concrete cracking in certain scenarios.

Charles Barton

You guys can site studies til blue in the face, but we still haven't established where to put the nuclear waste. - noah

Noah, No one ha ever died from nuclear waste, so it is not a very big problem.the whole issue of nuclear waste is a green racket. In contrast tens of thousands of people die every year from the waste of burning fossil fuels. Greens insist that there is a horrible issue of nuclear waste, when in fact there are numerous effective solutions. The reason why no solution is adopted is simple. Green opposition to any practical solution. Greens are fear monger about nuclear waste, while ignoring the much bigger and far more deadly problem of fossil fuel waste.

Nucbuddy

Noah wrote: You haven't responded to my concerns about the San onofre concrete walls cracking and leaking sludge into a state beach.

Tritiated water is not necessarily sludge.

A person could drink 130 gallons of the most radioactive water found under the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station last week and still have no cause for health concern

Tritium is a type of hydrogen. Tritiated water is therefore water that contains hydrogen. How could tritium turn water into sludge?

This is what the leaked-water looks like. Where did you get the idea it was sludge?

noah

haha, no one has ever died from nuclear waste? Its like saying no one has died from HIV. Or that no one has died from exposure to formaldehyde. Or that a mom smoking crack during her pregnancy term doesn't necessarily kill her unborn infant. I, for one do not want to be near a nuclear reactor during or after a tectonic event. That fact that there are no documented cases of this scenario killing someone has nothing do with my concern.

You baby boomer geeks have already made up your mind about nuke energy. I am not gonna try to persuade you that the future holds simpler, safer, cheaper options..Just continue to stay tuned and observe your darling tech get steadily replaced by renewables.

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